The City     The Searchers     The Great Escape     Being There
The Searchers: Introduction
Wilderness vacations became increasingly popular for urban, middle–class Canadians in the late–nineteenth and early–twentieth centuries. Beyond their desire for simple respite from the pressures and problems of city life, their views were influenced by an established, largely Anglo–American cultural framework in which nature was associated with the idea of the sublime.

Algonquin Park became a favourite retreat for urban vacationers, who took advantage of easy rail access. Most were motivated by a fluid mixture of individual interests, social inclinations and simple opportunity. However, a small number of notable individuals were drawn to the Park by strongly held aesthetic, religious, scientific, educational, humanistic and feminist concerns and convictions. These were the searchers. Through their actions and example, such individuals imbued the experience of being in the Park with meaning, and in doing so, inspired generations to come.


Professor John Macoun, Naturalist
1
Professor John Macoun (1831-1920) was born in Ireland, but he and his family immigrated to Canada in 1850. He worked as a farmer for about five years, before becoming a teacher. In 1860, John Macoun moved to Belleville, Ontario, and, while he was teaching, became interested in botany and began to collect specimens. He became an expert on the botany of southeastern Ontario, despite having no formal training. In 1868, he was given a chair in natural history at Albert College in Belleville, and was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree. In 1881, he became the first Dominion Botanist to the Geological Survey of Canada, and in 1885 was promoted to Assistant Director and Naturalist.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Canadians had developed a significant interest in natural history. Aside from the desire to advance scientific knowledge, middle-class Canadians saw natural history as a productive leisure activity. Macoun was a master collector, obtaining specimens of flora (plants and vegetation) and fauna (birds and mammals) from across the country. He worked in Algonquin Park in 1900.
John Macoun and a young friend examining a bird’s nest and egg
(Library and Archives Canada, PA-120487)
2
"When I first taught school, I began to describe the plants that were collected and name them. Why did I describe the plants? It was because I had no books with the descriptions in. Twenty years after that, I did the same with birds on the prairies. I wrote out their descriptions and then hunted them up in books afterwards."

John Macoun (actor's representation)
Autobiography of John Macoun, Canadian Explorer and Naturalist, 1831-1920, Ottawa: Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club, p. 217.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
John Macoun and a young friend examining a bird’s nest and egg (Photo detail)
(Library and Archives Canada, PA-120487)
3
Two important reasons behind the Victorian interest in natural history were the connection of God to nature (because nature’s intricate patterns could provide proof of God’s role in creation), and the desire to contribute to research knowledge (because the vast majority of Canada’s plant and life forms had not yet been inventoried).

In 1859, Charles Darwin published Origin of Species, in which he presented his ideas on evolution. Darwin, a naturalist himself, argued that species evolve through a long and gradual process of natural selection. This revolutionary theory was not widely accepted until well into the twentieth century. By some members of the Christian faith, it was seen as contradictory to the idea of divine creation and implied (as would be formally stated by T.H. Huxley in Man’s Place in Nature in 1863) a relationship between man and beast. Other members viewed evolution as a divine process.

Many naturalists, John Macoun included, refuted Darwin’s theory. Yet, in collecting large numbers of specimens, they somewhat unwittingly amassed data that would ultimately support Darwin's theory.
Bee on a flower [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006844)
4
"Mr. Darwin is most likely right in his opinion but I doubt it. Habit is everything in nature or rather instinct. Nature’s loves are very simple. We are all becoming so refined that in many cases we discard them and conjure up theories of our own."

John Macoun (actor's representation)
in a letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 August 1866. From Waiser, W.A., The Field Naturalist. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p.27.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
John Macoun and a young friend examining a bird’s nest and egg (Photo detail)
(Library and Archives Canada, PA-120487)
Robin (Turdus migratorius) [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006845)
5
In 1882, the plant collections of the Geological and Natural History Survey of Canada were incorporated into the beginnings of a national museum - what is today the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Professor Macoun served as biologist to the Museum, collecting about 100,000 plants. He also worked to describe birds across Canada.
Specimen collected by John Macoun in Algonquin Park, 9 July 1900, (CMN ID CAN 7547, Reproduced with permission from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada.)
Herring Gull nest in Algonquin Park during hatching period at Catfish Lake [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006846)
6
In 1900, John Macoun came to Algonquin Park. At this time, the Park's natural history was largely undescribed. Until the railroad entered the Park in 1896, it was a very difficult place to get to. It had a long history of logging, but there was not much settlement. This meant that, although naturalists had been collecting and describing Canadian specimens for at least 70 years, at the turn of the century Algonquin Park had not been inventoried. Its highland location, headwaters and location on the boundary between northern and southern forests also made the Park an interesting place to study.

Although John Macoun was largely interested in plant life, his field assistant, William Spreadborough, worked with him to collect and describe the birds of Algonquin Park. Many of the same species identified by Macoun and Spreadborough were also considered to be natural attractions by visitors to Algonquin Park.
Extrait vidéo (dans la version flash)
A robin feeding in Algonquin Park, 1930.
Film excerpt: Algonquin Park, 1930
(Library and Archives Canada, VI 2006-09-0004)
Wood duck on nest (Aix sponsa) [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006847)
Mallard eggs (Anas platyrhynchos) [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006848)
Gray Jay, or Whiskeyjack (Perisoreus canadensis) [n.d.]
The Gray Jay is found in Algonquin Park at the extreme southern limit of its range in Eastern Canada.
(CSTM/CN006849)
7
External Links

National Herbarium of the Canadian Museum of Nature - Home to the National Herbarium, which houses plant specimens collected by field naturalist John Macoun

http://www.nature.ca/collections/botany_e.cfm


The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online - Searchable collection of Darwin’s complete publications, many handwritten manuscripts and the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue ever published

http://darwin-online.org.uk/


Life of a Rock Star - Fun and educational site about the Geological Survey of Canada

http://www.collectionscanada.ca/rock/index-e.html


The Science Behind Algonquin’s Animals - Site exploring the role of science and technology behind wildlife research in Algonquin Park

http://www.sbaa.ca/
Tom Thomson, Artist
1
In the late nineteenth century, a preoccupation with the Canadian wilderness also emerged among some artists. Although this movement culminated with the formation of the Group of Seven in 1920, other artists, such as the members of the Toronto Art Students’ League and Tom Thomson, were interested in landscape art even earlier. They were driven by the same impulse: a desire to embrace and depict the Canadian landscape and an acceptance of that environment as unique and worthy of admiration. Many of these artists hailed from Toronto and chose Algonquin Park for their depictions of the Canadian landscape.
Tom Thomson at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, 1914 (detail)
(Library and Archives Canada, PA-125406)
Toronto Art Students League, c.1895
(Archives of Ontario, series F 1140-7-0-4)
2
The Toronto Art Students’ League, formed in 1886, frequently took sketching trips outdoors, and began sketching Algonquin Park in 1902. The group published calendars annually from 1892 to 1904, which frequently combined depictions of Canadian life in art and poetry.

Members of the art league included W. D. Blatchly, A. H. Howard, J. D. Kelly, C. M. Manly, C. W. Jefferys, J. E. H. MacDonald, Fred Brigden, Robert Holmes and Robert Crouch.
A Northern Ontario River, by William W. Alexander, c. 1903. Facing the month of July in the “Calendar for 1904” by the Toronto Art Students’ League
(Library and Archives Canada, 1963-66)
3
J. D. Kelly, a member of the Toronto Art Student's League, also worked as a graphic designer in Toronto, just as Tom Thomson did.

He illustrated brochures for the Herald Bros. Rice Lake Canoes Company with whimsical designs of people canoeing, hunting and fishing. Such designs played into the market for commercial tourism and outdoor adventure.
J. D. Kelly relaxing in a canoe
(CSTM/Daniel Herald - Rice Lake Collection, 1994.0349)
Illustration by J. D. Kelly, 1892
Cover for a Herald Bros. Rice Lake Canoes Company brochure
(CSTM/Trade Literature Collection, L31537)
Illustration by J. D. Kelly, 1892
From a Herald Bros. Rice Lake Canoes Company brochure
(CSTM/Trade Literature Collection, L31537)
4
J. D. Kelly’s interest in outdoor recreation extended beyond his work as a paid illustrator; he also took hunting vacations with his friends and illustrated his personal photo albums with the same joyful caricatures.
From an illustrated personal travel log, Log of the Yam, J. D. Kelly, 1898
(CSTM/Daniel Herald - Rice Lake Collection, 1994.0348.4)
From an illustrated personal travel log, Log of the Yam, J. D. Kelly, 1898
(CSTM/Daniel Herald - Rice Lake Collection, 1994.0348.4)
From an illustrated personal travel log, Log of the Yam, J. D. Kelly, 1898
(CSTM/Daniel Herald - Rice Lake Collection, 1994.0348.4)
5
Tom Thomson first came to Algonquin Park in 1912. By 1914, he was sketching extensively in the Park and working as a guide in the summer. His time in Algonquin Park was financed by Dr. James McCallum, a patron of his art. Thomson became a forest ranger in 1916, but sadly drowned in Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on 8 July 1917, under what remain mysterious circumstances.

Thomson introduced other artists to Algonquin Park, including Arthur Lismer. Because of this, and his inspired landscape painting, he is recognized as an important figure to the formation of the Group of Seven, although he died before it was formally founded.
Tom Thomson at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, 1914
(Library and Archives Canada, PA-125406)
6
"[A. Y.] Jackson and myself have been making quite a few sketches lately and I will send a bunch down with [Arthur] Lismer, he and [Frederick H.] Varley are greatly taken with the look of things here, just now the maples are all stripped of leaves now but the birches are very rich in colour, we are all working away but the best I can do does not do the place much justice in the way of beauty."

Tom Thomson (actor's representation)
from Algonquin Park, in a letter to Dr. James McCallum, October 1914.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Tom Thomson at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, 1914 (Photo detail)
(Library and Archives Canada, PA-125406)
Arthur Lismer and Tom Thomson in a canoe
Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, May 1914
(McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives)
7
Tom Thomson painted Algonquin Park extensively, often making sketches from Spring to Fall and completing the paintings in his Toronto studio during the winter.

His art, along with that of the Toronto Art Students’ League is reflective of the nationalistic sentiment associated with the natural environment that was growing in Canada during the early twentieth century, and continues to this day.

Although many Canadians lived in cities by this time, wilderness was at the heart of Canadian identity. This is epitomized in the iconic status reached by Tom Thomson in the years after his death as both national artist and the quintessential outdoorsman.
Campfire, by Tom Thomson, 1916
oil on wood, 26.6 x 21.6 cm
(National Gallery of Canada, no. 4646)
8
"I’ve been with him in the woods when I’ve got the definite feeling that he was part of them, when the birds and animals recognized something in him that they had themselves. That’s why I say that the rest of us were painting pictures; he was expressing moods. He was simply a part of nature."

Arthur Lismer (actor's representation)
From Silcox, David P. Tom Thomson: An Introduction to His Life and Art. Toronto: Firefly Books Ltd., 2002, p. 61.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Arthur Lismer and Tom Thomson in a canoe
Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, May 1914 (Photo detail)
(McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives)
Camp,at Petawawa River in Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006850)
Deer in a canoe, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006851)
White Partridge River, artist unknown [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006852)
Falls on the Petawawa River between Cedar and Catfish lakes, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006853)
9
Painting, hunting and fishing were often combined as outdoor pursuits. But in Algonquin Park, only “camera hunting” was permitted.
Capes, likely by George Horne Russell [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006854)
10
The tradition forged by early Canadian landscape artists continued throughout the twentieth century.

In the 1950s, Canadian Pacific Railway commissioned the painting of murals for the observation cars of The Canadian -- their transcontinental passenger service. On each of the 18 cars a different national or provincial park was depicted, intended to connote the national nature of the company and route. These became known as the “Park cars,” and fused the Canadian fascination with wilderness to art, landscape and tourism.

The mural Algonquin Provincial Park was painted by A. J. Casson, a later member of the Group of Seven.
Algonquin Provincial Park, by A.J. Casson, 1954
Oil on canvas, 113.2 x 208.8 cm, main mural
(CSTM Collection, 1987.0003)
11
External Links

National Gallery of Canada: Focus on Tom Thomson - Online exhibit exploring Tom Thomson, and his relationship to Algonquin Park and northern tourism

http://www.gallery.ca/exhibitions/exhibitions/tom_thomson/_swf/english/tom_thomson_e.html


Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery - Site of the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, located in Owen Sound, Ontario; provides information on both Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

http://www.tomthomson.org


McMichael Canadian Art Collection - Site of the McMichael Gallery, home to an impressive collection of artwork by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

http://www.mcmichael.com/

Fannie L. Case, Educator
1
Fannie Case (~18701955), a schoolteacher from Rochester, New York, opened the first summer camp for girls in Canada in 1906. Miss Case graduated from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and taught high school in Rochester for 15 years. During the first two years, her summer camp was situated west of Algonquin Park, at a site owned by her friend Dr. Howard A. Kelly. In 1908, Fannie Case chose Cache Lake in Algonquin Park as the permanent home for the camp that she named Northway Lodge. It was the first summer camp in Algonquin Park.

Although Fannie Case was an American, she chose to pursue her ideas about outdoor education in Algonquin Park, possibly because of its close proximity to the site of the original camp, but also because of the Park’s “wilder, unbroken beauty.” The widespread nature of the outdoor education movement is illustrated by the fact that Fannie Case came from New York State. Cities in both the United States and Canada were industrializing, and concerns aboutthe impact of the associated congestion, dirt and disease on city dwellers were expressed in both nations. By opening Northway Lodge, Fannie Case was meeting a demand. Girls did not choose to attend camp entirely on their own, but were sent there by parents who believed in the value of outdoor education. Outdoor education for girls stressed self esteem, learning skills, self reliance, physical competence, imagination, and creative or artistic expression. The outdoors was seen as a fresh-air classroom where girls could develop into strong, healthy young women.

Northway Lodge is still in operation today (now called Camp Northway) and continues to operate on the philosophy that girls should learn to live outdoors without the conveniences of modern life.
Northway Lodge, Cache Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park, 1915
(Algonquin Park Archives, 1306)
2
"Having taught teen age girls and boys a number of years and adored it, and being eager to try informal education without supervision from above and unhampered from tradition, we were ripe for a break in the usual physical circumstances also accompanying education -- close air, hard seats nailed down in rows, the clock ticking away our precious time and the bell cutting in just as an absorbed interest was reaching a climax."

Fannie L. Case (actor's representation)
From the pamphlet The Story of Northway Lodge, 1906-1942.)
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Fannie L. Case [n.d.] (Photo detail)
(Algonquin Park Archives, A01304)
Fannie L. Case [n.d.]
(Algonquin Park Archives, A01304)
School children in a conventional classroom [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006855)
3
In establishing the first girls’ camp in Canada in 1906, Fannie Case was something of a revolutionary.

It was not always understood at this time that girls could be as physically active and capable as boys, and in promoting outdoor education for women, Fannie Case was able to instil ideas of early feminist thought into her young campers.
Building the cabin, Camp Northway, Cache Lake, 1919
(Algonquin Park Archives, A0678)
4
"She also believed that women could do most things men could do. Women weren’t given full voting rights in the United States until 1920, 12 years after she started her camp on Cache Lake to give women a complete outdoor experience. She endeavoured to teach women survival skills in an environment that had been the domain of the opposite sex. I remember the role separation typical among guests at Highland Inn and the “wilderness lodges.” The men would go on short fishing trips, and the women, dressed in their fine clothes, would stay behind to play parlour games and chat. Thanks to Miss Case, I found this was not the only way for women to enjoy Algonquin Park."

Esther Keyser (actor's representation)
Commenting on Fannie Case, from Paddling My Own Canoe, Whitney, Ontario: The The Friends of Algonquin Park, 2003.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Esther Keyser on the steps of Northway Lodge (Photo detail)
(The Friends of Algonquin Park)
Swimmer at Camp Northway, Cache Lake, 1918
(Algonquin Park Archives, A0677)
Holly McCormic (right), Camp Northway, Cache Lake, 1919
(Algonquin Park Archives, A06088)
Campers Marian Green (left) and Grace Layman (right), Camp Northway, Cache Lake, 1919
(Algonquin Park Archives, A06095)
5
Esther Keyser, a young woman from New York State, became the first female guide in Algonquin Park, beginning her guiding business in 1935.

She had been going to the Park since 1927, when she attended Northway Lodge under the direction of Fannie Case.
Extrait vidéo (dans la version flash)
Esther Keyser on her early years in Algonquin Park
Film excerpt: Algonquin Stories, 1994
(Northwest Passage Films, directed and produced by Conrad Beaubien)
Esther Keyser on the steps of Northway Lodge
(The Friends of Algonquin Park)
6
Summer camps were primarily attended by middle-class children; the urban poor generally did not have the resources to send their children to camp. But the value of outdoor education was widely recognized. Aside from the educational value, convictions about connections between a healthy mind and healthy body gave rise to a concept of muscular Christianity.

The YMCA/YWCA, established Fresh Air Camps for the poor, and various funds were set up to assist them in sending their children to camp. The Toronto Star established its Fresh Air Fund in 1901, and it continues to operate today.
Nature class at Pathfinder Camp, Source Lake [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006860)
7
Although she was among the first to do so, Fannie Case was not alone in recognizing the educational opportunities afforded by outdoor education. Indeed, she was part of a larger movement that found various expressions in Algonquin Park, and elsewhere, in the early decades of the twentieth century.

In 1925, Mary G. Hamilton opened another camp for girls in Algonquin Park -- Camp Tanamakoon. Mary Hamilton was a physical education teacher at Margaret Eaton School in Toronto, and thought that her students should have camping experience. As outdoor recreation continued to gain in popularity, she felt that physical education schools had a role to play in training camp counsellors.

Camp Tanamakoon stressed camp leadership training and the creation of strong, healthy and productive members of society. Graduates of Camp Tanamakoon were often hired back as counsellors or by YWCAs across Canada, thereby influencing successive generations of young women.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Song: “Tanamakoon of the Cedar Green Canoe”
(Camp Tanamakoon Celebrates 75 Years, 1999, audio cd)
Camp Tanamakoon (girls camp) [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006917)
8
"Our aim is not merely to give our camper a healthy, happy summer and a type of education which can be gained only from a life in the open, but to develop in her a spiritual discipline which will enable her to live effectively with other people and make a positive contribution to her country."

Mary G. Hamilton (actor's representation)
The Call of Algonquin: The Biography of a Summer Camp, Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1958.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Crest Reproduced with permission of Camp Tanamakoon, http://www.tanamacoon.com
Camp Tanamakoon "Chickasaw" campers staging a lunch fire, c.1926
(Algonquin Park Archives, A06688)
Camp Tanamakoon campers at an interior dock, c. 1926-1929
(Algonquin Park Archives, A06689)
Girls’ camp, Hubbard’s [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006862)
Girls at Bigwin Inn, Lake of Bays, Ontario [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006863)
9
Ideas about outdoor education as it relates to boys were especially influenced by Ernest Thompson Seton (also known as Ernest Seton Thompson) who began the Woodcraft movement and, together with Lord Baden-Powell, is recognized as a founder of the Boy Scouting movement.

Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946) was born in England, but came to Canada as a small child. He was educated at Toronto Collegiate and the Ontario College of Art before returning to England for a time to study at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in London. In addition to his artistic interests, he was a teacher, and taught at Columbia University, the same school attended by Fannie Case.

A naturalist and artist, Thompson Seton was interested in developing a training program for boys based on outdoor life and Indian lore. His Woodcraft program included rules of behaviour and stressed ideas of self-government, freedom in education and democratic governance. Many of his ideas were absorbed into the Boy Scouts, in a militarized form characteristic of Baden Powell’s background as an imperialist British soldier, a move not supported by Thompson Seton.
Boys at camp, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006856)
10
"It is something to do, something to think about, something to enjoy, something to remember, in the woods, realizing all the time that manhood, not scholarship, is the aim of all true education. It works with a continual recognition of the four ways along which one should develop -- the body way, the mind way, the spirit way and the service way."

Ernest Thompson Seton (actor's representation)
The Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians, New York: Doubleday, Page and Co. 1906.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Film Still: Algonquin Stories, 1994
(Northwest Passage Films, directed and produced by Conrad Beaubien)
Boys on canoe trip, Camp Ahmek, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006857)
11
With the industrial era came concerns about physical ill health due to pollution, crowding and a lack of physical activity in the cities.

Ernest Thompson Seton, along with other reformers, believed that the experience of outdoor living could alleviate some of these concerns, providing an opportunity to build physical strength and moral rectitude through communal living.
Diving at Camp Ahmek, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006858)
12
Taylor Statten, an active member of the YMCA, opened Camp Ahmek in 1921. It was the first Canadian-owned private camp in Algonquin Park.

Taylor Statten was a friend of Ernest Thompson Seton, and incorporated many of his ideas regarding outdoor education into his camp.
Extrait vidéo (dans la version flash)
Dr. Taylor Statten speaks about the influence of Ernest Thompson Seton on children’s summer camps.
Film excerpt: Algonquin Stories, 1994
(Northwest Passage Films, directed and produced by Conrad Beaubien)
Pirate ship at Camp Ahmek, Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006859)
Teaching boys to make a paddle, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006861)
13
Many summer camps were Christian-based and therefore excluded children of other faiths.

In 1934, Dr. Max and Lilllian Kates opened Camp Arowhon, the first Jewish-run camp in Algonquin Park. Today, Camp Arowhon operates as a nondenominational summer camp.
Camp Arowhon, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006242)
Swimming at Camp Arowhon, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006934)
14
External Links

Camp Northway website

http://www.campnorthway.com/


Camp Tanamakoon website

http://www.tanamakoon.com/


Taylor Statten Camps website

http://www.taylorstattencamps.com/


Camp Arowhon website

http://www.camparowhon.com/index.php


Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity - Essay discussing the achievements of Mary G. Hamilton

http://www.caaws.ca/e/milestones/women_history/mary_hamilton.cfm


Ernest Thompson Seton Institute

http://www.etsetoninstitute.org/


The Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians - Full text of The Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians by Ernest Thompson Seton

http://www.inquiry.net/traditional/seton/birch/index.htm
Henry Burton Sharman, Theologian
1
Dr. Henry Burton Sharman (1865-1953), was born in Stratford, Ontario, and attended the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in Guelph, earning a Diploma in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science in 1884. He worked as a farmer for several years, but returned to the OAC in 1890, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1891. Dr. Sharman became active in student Christian life at the OAC, having joined the YMCA there. In 1900, Henry Sharman entered graduate studies in the Department of New Testament History and Literature at the University of Chicago. He received his PhD in 1906 and stayed on as a lecturer until 1909, when he returned to Canada. Dr. Sharman taught part-time at the University of Toronto and remained closely involved with the YMCA, YWCA and the Student Christian Movement of Canada.

Dr. Sharman came to Algonquin Park in search of an enhanced religious experience. In 1923 he began to hold 6-week long religious seminars in what is now Bon Echo Provincial Park. These were known as the Iota Sigma Seminars. In 1928, these seminars found a permanent home at Camp Minnesing in Algonquin Park.
Portrait of Henry Burton Sharman, 1948
(Library and Archives Canada, e002712427)
2
The attendees of his seminars were graduate students and university faculty members who came from Canada, the United States, Europe, China and Japan. They gathered to apply Henry Sharman’s unique approach of examining the records of the life and teachings of Jesus, without “underlying assumptions or external criticism, through individual study and group discussion.”
Group photo at Camp Minnesing [n.d.]
(Library and Archives Canada, e002013735)
The campfire [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006864)
3
Dr. Sharman felt that removal from the urban environment meant protection from the distractions and propaganda of daily urban life. Religious or spiritual searchers were thus able to immerse themselves more fully in religious study, as well as find inspiration in the natural environment.

In the mornings, participants partook in group discussion, but the afternoons remained free for individual discussion or recreation.
Island of pines near Catfish Camp, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006865)
Portage scene, Aura Lee Lake, Algonquin Park, 1947
(CSTM/CN000827)
4
The brochures that Dr. Sharman published for his seminars illustrate the contemplative and enlightening experience that he hoped participants would realize during their time in Algonquin Park.
Resting for lunch [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN002376)
5
Records illustrate that the seminars had a profound effect on participants -- not only a result of the intensive study, but also because of the camaraderie and experience of living in the natural environment, free from urban impositions, distractions and problems.
Aura Lee Lake, Algonquin Park [n.d.]
(CSTM/CN006868)
6
"Camp Minnesing means for me a place where a revolution started within me that is still going on (and will go on and on) bringing revelations of new truth - new to me - so startling in their significance and beauty that all my life seems to have begun there with the group. Isn’t it amazing what can happen to a mind when it is organized around a center that is constant - inviolable?"

Unknown (actor's representation)
A personal recollection from an earlier seminar participant, included in the brochure for the 1938 seminar.
Extrait audio (dans la version flash)
Sunset at Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada (Photo detail)
[n.d.]No. 0-501
CSTM/CN Collection
7
Further Reading

Sharman, Dr. Henry Burton


Jesus in the Records. New York: Association Press, 1918.

Paul as Experient. New York: Harper, 1947.

Records of the Life of Jesus; Book I: The Record of Mt--Mk--Lk, Book II: The Record of John. New York: Harper, 1917, 1940.

Son of Man and Kingdom of God, A Critical Study. New York, London: Harper, 1943.

Studies in Jesus as Teacher. London: Harper, 1944.

Studies in the Life of Christ; Based on A Harmony of the Gospels by Stevens and Burton. New York: Association Press, 1909.

Studies in the Records of the Life of Jesus. New York, NY: Harper, 1938.

The Teaching of Jesus About the Future According to the Synaptic Gospels. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1909.


Student Christian Movement of Canada


This One Thing: A Tribute to Henry Burton Sharman, B.S.A. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Chicago): 1865-1953 / Prepared by a Group of Friends. Toronto: Student Christian Movement of Canada, 1959.
Algonquin Park
1
Algonquin Provincial Park is located in the Canadian Shield, between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in the province of Ontario. It is high, rocky land, ranging in elevation from 150 to 590 metres above sea level. The Park is 7,630 km² in size, and contains some 2000 rivers, lakes and ponds. Five major rivers also flow from the Park, which is situated on a transition zone where both northern and southern species mix. It is home to many northern animals, such as the moose and gray jay, as well as southern animals, such as the white-tailed deer.

Aboriginal peoples used the area for fishing, hunting and trapping, and had at least seasonal settlements in parts of what is now Algonquin Park. There was not much permanent settlement by Europeans, although logging dates back to about 1830, and continues to this day.

In 1893, Algonquin Park was officially founded as a wildlife and forest preserve, to protect the headwaters that flow out of the Park, and as “a health resort and pleasure ground.” Algonquin Park was Ontario’s first provincial park. It was originally named Algonquin National Park, but it has always been under provincial jurisdiction and in 1913 was renamed Algonquin Provincial Park.

Railway access began in 1896, with the construction of the Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway, built by lumber baron J. R. Booth. Although the railway was built to ease logging operations, it also facilitated tourism. For the first time, Algonquin Park was easily accessible. There have always been tensions between logging, conservation and tourism interests, but all three continue to coexist today through a policy of sustainable forest management.
Map of Algonquin National Park, 1908
(Library and Archives Canada, NMC 15000)
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External Links


Algonquin Forestry Authority

http://www.algonquinforestry.on.ca


Algonquin Provincial Park: A Thumbnail Park History

http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/geninfo/history.html


Canada's Historic Places: Algonquin Provincial Park National Historic Site of Canada

http://www.historicplaces.ca/rep-reg/affichage-display_e.aspx?Id=3249


The Science Behind Algonquin’s Animals

http://www.sbaa.ca/default.asp